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Estate dispute delays cremation of San Francisco woman’s body

The topic of estate planning may often be avoided by Woodland Hills residents due to the fact that it forces them to truly consider the subject of their own deaths. Plus, some may think that they do not possess enough personal assets to make creating estate planning documents even worth it. Yet in many cases, people may have more wealth than they themselves or others perceive. While the state does have measures to address the assets of one who dies intestate, a lack of any records stipulating how a decedent would like his or her assets handled and by whom can leave the door open for disputes amongst potential heirs to arise.

That appears to be exactly what is happening in the case of the estate of a renowned community leader in San Francisco. The woman died in mid-September, yet after her funeral, her sister had her body removed from the crematorium where it was being held in order to conduct an autopsy. Her reasons were to support a potential medical malpractice claim she considered filing against one of the woman’s caregivers. The woman’s other surviving sister had opposed this action. Both sisters have filed petitions with the court staking claims to the woman’s assets. Meanwhile, her body remains housed at a local mortuary where workers are unable to do anything with it, as the sister who had objected to the autopsy refuses to give permission to proceed with her cremation.

Completing the task of drafting estate planning documents may help in avoiding potentially contentious situations like the one described above. Those who have been putting this task off may want to contact an estate planning attorney to begin the process.

Source: SFGate “Rose Pak’s body on ice while sister’s squabble over estate” Green, Emily, Nov. 22, 2016

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